Tag Archives: Local Church

Teaching in the Local Church

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Introduction

Eph. 4:15,16 provides a concise description of a mature, productive local church.

  • “Speaking the truth in love,
  • we are to grow up in all aspects into Him, who is the head, even Christ,
  • from whom the whole body,
  • being fitted and held together by that which every joint supplies,
  • according to the proper working of each individual part,
  • causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.”

The mature local church is made up of mature believers who work together to fulfill the Plan of God and the Christian mission.

The Local Church’s Mission

The local church’s mission includes the following activities:

Worship as a local assembly – “forsake not the assembling of yourselves together”

Evangelism – the winning of people to the Christian faith. “He that winneth souls is wise…”

Edification – “Feed the church of God …” “Feed the flock”

Training – “Study to show yourselves approved unto God, a workman …”

Service – Attention to the details of encouragement and support of everyone in the body of Christ.

The local church’s mandate, then, is to maintain an organizational structure for the purpose of meeting God’s requirements for worship, evangelism, edification, and the development of skilled workers to carry out the work associated with the stated mission.

We are to worship “in Spirit and in truth”. The work of the local church must be carried out in the presence of the Holy Spirit, with His control, and through His total ministry of teaching, convicting, and controlling. The work of the local church must center in and deal exclusively with the Bible, the Word of God. The revealed Word of God, the “mind of Christ” is the only effective tool for learning what God’s will is and carrying it out.

Therefore, the main daily work of the pastor and members of a local church is to provide a maximum of high quality Bible teaching, in sufficient quantity to allow believers to make rapid progress in the Christian Way of Life. The main activity of the local church, apart from prayer and worship, is Bible teaching

To meet the teaching requirements of the church’s mission, the following are required:

  1. A well-defined strategy for providing the teaching needs of the church.
  2. A mature set of plans for developing and carrying out a teaching program.
  3. Execution of the plans by assigning and employing people to the work, setting schedules, and putting the plans in motion

The Church’s Teaching Ministry

2 Tim. 2:1,2 “You therefore, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things which you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses, these entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also.”

Bible study has four main components:

Bible Analysis – exegesis and exposition. The process of dissecting a passage of Scripture into its component parts (vocabulary, syntax, grammar) in order to learn as well as possible the meaning (interpretation) of the passage.

Topical Development – categorization. Briefly, the process of determining the meaning of words and concepts found in a passage of scripture by searching the whole Bible for clues, explanations, and illustrations of the subject under study.

Historical Study – The process of studying the social history of the people and cultures in the context of the Bible passage, and the language history of the text, to learn as much as possible about the text, as used colloquially in the time in which it was written, and to learn how the text was applied to the people living in that time and place.

Correlation of Categorical Doctrine – This involves the gathering together of groups of related doctrinal studies that deal with specific subject areas of application.

With these things in mind, a local church can design a comprehensive Bible teaching curriculum which will meet the needs of all age groups as they grow in Christ. Such a curriculum will contain components such as the following:

Bible Studies

Include:

  • Verse by verse expositional studies of books of the Bible
  • Studies of Bible topics regarding salvation, stability in the Christian way of life, and spiritual production
  • Survey studies: Old Testament survey, New Testament survey, life of Christ, Acts and Life/Epistles of Paul, etc.

Historical Studies

  • Survey of Ancient History (early times to Byzantine Empire)
  • Survey of Hebrew History (in Bible light)
  • History of major mid-Eastern world powers – Egypt, Assyria, Sumer, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Hittites, Greece, Rome
  • History of Judea
  • History of the Jewish religion and practices
  • Detailed history of the period from 100 BC to 100 AD
  • American History (from Christian viewpoint), American and state government
  • Law – short courses in “legal research” or “orientation to law and the courts”

Studies in Preparation for Teaching

  • Biblical languages (Greek, Hebrew, etc.), introductory and advanced.
  • Hermeneutics and exegesis
  • Use of reference materials: concordances (English, Greek, Hebrew); Bible dictionaries and encyclopedias; commentaries; systematic theology studies
  • Development of expertise in preparing Bible studies
  • English grammar and composition
  • Public speaking
  • Christian literature (non-fiction)
  • Bible lesson development and organization
  • Use of parallel passages
  • How to find and use illustrations
  • How to determine and teach appropriate applications

Such a curriculum is very ambitious and will require several years for any individual to complete. But when this effort is compared to the requirements for obtaining a high school diploma or college degre e, the eternal results to be gained certainly make the work of organization, teaching, and study worthwhile.

Doctrinal Studies (Partial Listing)

The following is a partial listing of the doctrinal topics to be covered in a comprehensive Bible teaching ministry. These topics can be considered the essential “fundamentals” for any believer who is motivated to move toward spiritual maturity.

Salvation Doctrines

Grace Mental Attitude of God

Blood of Christ

Barrier Doctrines (Propitiation, Reconciliation, Redemption)

Salvation and Positional Truth

Ark of the Covenant and Mercy Seat

Imputation

Regeneration

Sin and the Penalty of Sin

Heaven and Hell

Faith

Adoption

Resurrection and Ascension of Christ

Christian Life Techniques

Confession of Sin

Faith Rest

Living in the Word

Occupation with Christ

Orientation to Grace

Spirituality vs Carnality

Divine Viewpoint vs Human Viewpoint

The Lord’s Supper

Baptism

Judgment and Judging

Justice of God

Divine Guidance and the Plan of God

Forgiveness

Christian Giving

Inheritance

Royal Family

Love

Repentance

Sanctification

Spiritual Adultery and Worldliness

Suffering – Deserved and Undeserved

Divine Discipline for Nations and Individuals

Stability Doctrines – Christian Life Foundations

Essence of God

Salvation Doctrines (the believer at the moment of salvation; 36 Things)

Person and Work of the Lord Jesus Christ

Person and Work of the Holy Spirit

Sin and the Sin Nature

Mental Attitude

Volition: The Will of Man

The Soul

Positional Truth

Marriage

Grace

Law and Legalism

Privacy

Works: Dead and Alive

The Faith System of Learning Divine Viewpoint

Edification

Productivity Doctrines

Grace in Production

Holy Spirit: spiritual gifts, power

Friendships

Personal Evangelism

Local Church – organization and work

Spiritual Testing and Suffering as a witness

Christian Missions

Divine Institutions

A publication of http://www.GraceNotes.info

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How can Grace Notes be used? What are the advantages of Grace Notes?

One of the issues with prison ministry is the limited presence (both frequency and duration) spent with prisoners. Most of the missionaries I know are only allowed visitations quarterly at best. Consequently, the material they use is rarely in-depth and focused on basics. It would be advantageous, however, if some prisoners could be taught sound doctrinal Biblical principles to form onsite front line teachers. How can this be accomplished? Chaplains, after all, are usually swamped and focused on many different things. So we ask again, how can the body of Christ train leaders in the prisons even when they are not there? Grace Notes has an answer! Leaders can be trained remotely with email lessons on a self-paced rate. Even better would be pastors or Grace Notes graduates who serve as coaches for these prisoners/leaders.

I visited a Bible church this last weekend and was surprised they already had such a ministry using Grace Notes as the curriculum. They also use the material for their mid-week studies. What is described in the first paragraph is exactly what that this church already does. Grace Notes sends the lessons, the coaches discuss the answers and any other theological items. The cycle repeats with the next lesson. This church is working with one individual who is leading Bible studies in his prison. The prisoner studies the Grace Notes material on his own, uses the coaching based on what was learned. This person is now light in the dark environment which is prison life.

Clearly, this pattern can be repeated and adapted to other mission fields. For instance, missionaries can use Grace Notes for their own edification, then teach the material to those whom they serve. If the missionary cannot physically be onsite, then the email or online Grace Notes training fits nicely here. The process repeats as indigenous learners teach sound Biblical principles to other new believers.

This is exactly what occurred in Africa. There, the English speaking leaders taught themselves the Grace Notes material, formed learning centers, and taught the next group of leaders. This happened several years before Grace Notes personnel ever went to Africa.

One teacher in Uganda shared how even though he was saved, he feared that the power of witchcraft trumped that of his new Christian faith. Someone shared Grace Notes lessons with him. Studying the Ephesians lessons, he realized that witchcraft had no power of a believer. There is something about the amount of information that can be delivered in written form that vastly exceeds verbal communications. Both are needed in tandem to be most effective in moving new believers further, faster toward spiritual maturity.

The Grace Notes curriculum has been developed specifically using four interrelated components of Bible instruction:

Bible Analysis (exegesis, hermeneutics, and exposition). The process of dissecting a passage of Scripture into its component parts (vocabulary, syntax, grammar) in order to learn as well as possible the meaning (interpretation) of passages. Grace Notes has Verse by verse expositional studies of 50 books of the Bible.

Topical Development (categorization). The process of determining the meaning of words and concepts found in a passage of scripture by searching the whole Bible for explanations and illustrations of the subject under study.

These include: Studies of categorical Bible doctrines regarding salvation, stability in the Christian way of life, and all phases of a Christian’s growth in Christ, Old Testament survey, New Testament survey, Life of Christ, Acts and Life/Epistles of Paul.

Historical Study (isagogics). The process of studying (1) the social history of the people and cultures in the context of the Bible passage, (2) the language history of the text as it was used colloquially in the time in which it was written, and (3) to learn how the text was applied to the people living in that time and place.

These studies include: Survey of Ancient History (early times to Byzantine Empire), Old Testament history and history of major mid-Eastern world powers – Egypt, Assyria, Sumer, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Hittites, Greece, Rome; History of Judea; History of the Jewish religion and practices; the Temple at the time of Christ; The Life and Times of Paul the Apostle

Correlation of Categorical Doctrine – This involves the gathering together of groups of related expositional and doctrinal studies that deal with specific areas of application.

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The Local Church

DESCRIPTION OF A LOCAL CHURCH
This article provides a collection of Bible references dealing with the basic attitude and activities which are present in a local church that is functioning as described in Ephesians 4:11-16.
INTERACTION WITHIN THE CONGREGATION
Attitudes in the Local Church

  1. Love for one another: Rom. 13:8; 1 Thess. 3:11,12; 4:9,10; 2 Thess. 1:3; 1 Peter 1:22.
  2. Forbearance or relaxed tolerance toward others: Eph. 4:2; Col. 3:13.
  3. Acceptance or willingness to receive others into assembly: Rom. 15:7.
  4. An attitude which is neither judgmental or con-demning: Rom. 14:13; 1 Cor. 4:5; James 4:11,12
  5. Willingness to subordinate one’s own desires to the needs and interests of others: Phil. 2:3,4; 1 Pet. 5:5,6; Rom. 12:10.
  6. Genuine devotion toward one another as Fam-ily of God: Rom. 12:10.
  7. Harmony or rapport that transcends social bar-riers: Rom. 12:16-18; 14:19; James 2:1-4.
  8. Priority of unity within the congregations: Eph. 4:3,13; Col. 3:14.
  9. Forgiveness: Eph. 4:32.
  10. Encouraging one another: Heb. 3:12,13; 10:24; 1 Thess. 5:11; Rom. 15:4,5.

Activities in the Local Church

  1. Edifying one another: Eph. 4:29; 1 Thess. 5:11; Rom. 14:18-20; 15:1,2.
  2. Serving one another: Gal. 5:13.
  3. Being kind to one another: Eph. 4:32; 1 Peter 3:8,9.
  4. Showing hospitality: 1 Peter 4:9; 3 John 5-8.
  5. Partaking of the Communion: 1 Cor. 11:17-34; Acts 2:42-46.
  6. Admonishing one another: Rom. 15:14; 1 Cor. 4:14; 1 Thess. 5:14.
  7. Restoring carnal believers: Gal. 6:1.
  8. Praying for one another: James 5:16.

The Local Church’s Function as a Community of Believers

  1. Our relationship with God is described in fam-ily terms: Gal. 3:26; John 1:12,13.
  2. Christians are commanded to have a family-like devotion to one another: Rom. 12:10.
  3. The local church is called the household of God: 1 Tim. 3:15.
  4. Paul recommends to Timothy how to relate to others in the congregation: 1 Tim. 5:1,2
  5. Leadership qualifications include how well a man fulfills his family responsibilities: 1 Tim. 3:4,5,12.
  6. A woman’s role in the local church is described in the same terms as her role in the family: 1 Tim. 2:11-13; 1 Cor. 14:34-35.

Grace Notes is a ministry of Austin Bible Church, Austin, Texas http://www.austinbiblechurch.com
For an index of topics, or information about regu-lar Bible studies, write to:
Louis Roth  Grace Notes PO Box 515, Texas 78642
E-Mail: lroth@gracenotes.info
URL: http://www.gracenotes.info

There is no charge for Grace Notes materials. The work is supported by Christians who pray for the ministry and share in the expenses.